Here’s a Genius, Sustainable DIY Hack for Turning a Spill into an Art Piece

published Jan 9, 2023
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Phebe Rendulić Brunswick West House Tour

As someone who lived with a white couch for six months can tell you, spills and stains are no joke. One minute, you’re enjoying your favorite TV show with some tikka masala, and the next thing you know you’re desperately blotting at the couch with stain remover, seltzer, and laundry detergent, using anything in your cleaning arsenal you can think of to get the splotch out. Sometimes all of your efforts are in vain, and some stains just don’t come out. Sure, you could get a whole new couch (that’s what I did), or you can take a page out of the wabi-sabi book and try your hand at some visible mending.

That’s what crafter and photographer, Phebe Rendulić did when live gave her lemons… er, a stained ottoman, which you can see beside her bed in the photo above. She counts this projects as one of her favorite DIYs in the Victoria, Australia, home she shares with her roommate, Michael.  “The ‘blob patch’ ottoman I’d mended after spilling a drink on it ended up featured in frankie magazine,” she tells us, where lots of her original crafts are featured as well. The ottoman itself was just a K-Mart purchase, but I admire the sustainable practice of keeping and mending items that are otherwise still perfectly useful. In the print feature of the ottoman, Rendulić says the stain itself was already sort of “blob-shaped,” and reminded her of the drippy, gloopy sculptures by artist Dan Lam.

Instead of trashing the ottoman, Rendulić pulled out some needlepoint canvas she had on hand, sketched out a drippy design, and created long, irregular stitches in multiple colors to create the ombré rainbow effect you can see here. She then stitched this design directly onto the ottoman to give the piece a completely new lease on life. The best part is that this color scheme of her visible mending coordinates perfectly with Rendulić’s vibrant style, and even though it was a solution to cover up a stain, it looks intentional and as though it was always meant to be there. So the next time you accidentally spill something on your upholstered chair, couch, or ottoman, think about covering it with something that turns it into a unique piece of art instead of discarding it.